Thursday, January 31, 2008


Marjorie Perloff characterized the late Burt Hatlen as "generous" of spirit. This is worthy of a significant amount of consideration; poets, students, critics, there are a lot of us who are doing what we do in large part because of Burt. And that IS generosity embodied, and then given to us as the gift of his life.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I think maybe I'll blog again

as soon as i have something to say. keep an eye on cottonwool, sjbr, and conspicuous consumption -- i'm not yet sure which one i'll return to. like you care. but whatever. i'm back bitches.

Friday, January 05, 2007

sjbr is the new, er, blog

i'm just saying, is all

Monday, September 11, 2006

over and out

at some point, my blog started to seem more like a job than an interesting exercise, so i am going to sign off for a while. i have enjoyed keeping this blog and i even made some new friends in the blogsphere. so, good.

keep an eye on me in the future; the idea of a food blog is becoming more and more attractive to me.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

13 things

I stole this "MeMe meme" from Jessica's blog. And she got it from someone else, so if you want its origin, wander over to looktouch and find out for your damn self.

13 Things About Me that Are Weird (only 13?)

1. I don't like ice cream. That's right, you heard me correctly.

2. I can't burp. Have never done so. It's rumored in my family that this is some kind of hereditary medical condition, but I have never bothered to find out as I don't really care if I can or cannot burp.

3. I drink neither beer nor pop. (See above)

4. I get hives from especially difficult coursework.

5. Nervous puke-r.

6. I find furniture... difficult. This is possibly a manifestation of my fear of commitment. Ditto houseplants.

7. I am possessed of an uncanny ability to locate the cheapest plane-tickets online.

8. I love dickering with car salesmen; hence, I am invaluable to those buying a new car.

9. I have a stupendous sense of direction and can find my way around anywhere. Except, oddly, Detroit, where I have lived for 2 years. If you put a gun to my head I could not get from point A to point B in Detroit and, this being Detroit, that scenario will probably be realized someday.

10. I'm 30 years old and I still babysit.

11. I'm 30 years old and I still call my mother "Mommy."

12. I only use red toothbrushes. I arbitrarily made this decision several years ago just to see if I could stick to it, and so far I have.

13. I own so many alarm clocks that I have lost track of the exact number.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

cliche-spotting: academia edition

i was just looking through this week's cpf and i realized that it is time to put the kibosh on:

"queer" as a verb, as in "to queer," or "queering."

this word is officially overused. i don't know why this bothers me so much, but see my Louisville post for more tired academic cliches. i guess i feel like once certain buzzwords become institutionalized, nobody really thinks about what they mean anymore. so now that everybody "queers," it's no longer necessary to think of what the process of queering entails. queering has in effect become reified into just another academic thing that doesn't really need to do anything anymore. one just inserts it in one's paper title, or sentence, or abstract, and POOF! the entire project is magically queered (no pun intended). which, of course, sort of misses the whole point of queering by rendering it, like, not at all queer.

although i should say that i know people who have used, and continue to use, "queering" to do actual work because they are simultaneously using the concept and problematizing or developing it. so, okay. keep on queering in the free world.

hey, "queering": it was fun while it lasted. you had a good run.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

a manifesto of sorts

Wow. I am way behind on my blogging.

This morning it occurred to me that I have been thinking a lot about relationships and that it is about time that my camp released some kind of a statement regarding love.

This was brought on by two things. One, the recent realization that I do not fit in the conventional conceptualization of relationships. And with this, the attendant suspicion that a lot of other people don't either. And two, I spoke to one of my ex-boyfriends for the first time in almost a year (wherein I realized that we should be friends again because he's a pretty cool guy; so I will no longer refer to him as my ex-boyfriend, but instead, as my friend. A, can I get a "hell yeah"?).

Okay, so. How do I "not fit"? Lots of folks will assume that this has something to do with confused sexuality. This is, uh, not the case. I'm straight, y'all, and about this fact I am not the least bit conflicted. But I think that it has become the norm to immediately ascribe an individual's discomfort with conventional relationships to some kind of flaw in her personality that can then be pathologized as "closeted" or whatever. That is, it's not the relationships that are flawed, it's you.

Likewise the less offensive but still problematic idea that a given individual is "not ready" for a relationship, thus suggesting that the individual will be somehow "cured" when she fianlly arrives at the ultimate goal of being "ready." This idea implies, of course, that we humans are all teleogically oriented toward the end of a relationship with one other human being as the fullest realization of existence, whether that relationship is homo or hetero. But look! The terms homo- and hetero- only exist if we accept this single, finally overdetermined relationship as our end goal. Life, then, becomes an exercise in the unification of fragments; our activities are oriented toward making these fragments into a whole, which whole is represented by the ever-elusive relationship, which is of course modeled on the heteronormative family structure, and, VIOLA! You're totally screwed.

And how easy it is to fail at this! We are more or less doomed to defeat here; yet so many people persist in believing that they are not whole, successful, fulfilled people unless they have completed the puzzle of "being with someone." You thought that the idea that men and women are failures unless they are married was archaic? But it's all around us!

Now, I am not saying anything that schizoanalysis hasn't said before. Still, I think it bears looking into how this family romance can rain havoc on the life of a single young gal. I have, in the past few years, had the pleasure of dating several very nice men. I loved one or two of them, yet my relationships with them resembled "real," or "good" relationships the least. I'm not excusing some of the fucked up things these guys did; I am, however, nonetheless uncomfortable with the number of times I was told that I "deserved better" from a relationship. This posits an ideal relationship in which I do not believe but that I am unfortunately still assumed to be unsuccessfully striving toward. I mean, if my end goal had been to get married and have kids and a 401K, yes, these relationships were failures. But what if there was no end goal? What if these relationships provided me with some moments, hours, and days of happiness in the continuum of my life? What if we look at relationships as moments to be lived, as different occurrences of intimacies instead of as a narrative that leads to a predetermined end? More plainly, I don't want to sacrifice too much of my life by treating it as something that needs to be "gotten past" to get to the next point, which is "success." These relationships can't be counted as failures simply because they didn't "get me somewhere." Nor would I call them "learning experiences," as though they were some kind of training for the real thing.

Although if it were that simple to simply "re-ideologize" a bad relationship into a good one, we wouldn't be having this (one-sided) conversation. These relationships were also plenty bad in real, palpable, immediate ways. And hence, I am not in them anymore. But they weren't just practice for the big one, either.

The "family romance" of a teleologically directed narrative indeed interferes in my more casual dating life as well. I have had the pleasure of dating a couple of wonderful guys in recent years, but these dates never became relationships. It was not because of any flaws in the respective men, nor, in this case, was it because of any flaws in me. It was simply that these otherwise great guys made the mistake of thinking that they knew me far too quickly; they seemed to assume that they knew what "women" wanted, and then behaved toward me as though they were following a script that they had bought from the writers of "Sex and the City." That is to say, they forgot they were on a date with ME and instead substituted "a woman" for "this woman here." Variously, these guys did things like spending an hour with me and then telling me that "I made them happy"; calling WAY TOO MUCH; assuming familiarities that didn't exist, like telling me that I was "smart" or "not like other girls" (you could maybe assume these things if you had known me for months, but not hours); ignoring me when I told them I was somewhat uncomfortable with relationships, choosing to believe instead that I simply needed to be "persuaded." Now, how many of you are thinking "What is she doing complaining about these guys when it's clear that she's just not mature enough/ready for a relationship?" My point exactly. I don't especially appreciate my feelings and convictions being treated as symptoms that need to be overcome. At that point I begin to feel suffocated and disappeared, like my actual self has been swallowed by the idea of a relationship.

But this is all too easy to do when we assume that we are all traveling toward the same goal: to be one half of a successfully formed "whole." Of course, anyone could point out the obvious here: I am spending most of my time reading, alone, and singing classic rock songs to Kristine's cat. Uh, is there something wrong with that? My biological clock is ticking? Not so much. "Getting married" is not a goal, although a lot of people think it is. What they might not be considering is that a wedding is their real goal; I don't ever want to have a relationship so that I can get married. Because what if I am not "whole" then (and so many, many people aren't, and it's a devastating realization)? I want to get married because I can't NOT get married. I want a relationship that is based on wanting as many moments as possible with someone because his presence makes my life a nicer place, a relationship that is part of my entire life, not its diagnostic marker. So, for now at least, none is fine.

Please discuss.